A bill setting out rules for the formation of public-private partnerships to finance big-ticket projects is poised to come out of the Senate. The Senate scrapped a much-criticized House amendment that sought to expedite court challenges to such deals. If the House insists on keeping that language, the bill's prospects are dim.

Also pending is an important measure that would require many of Maryland's larger counties and Baltimore city to assess fees to raise money to improve their storm water systems.

Almost certainly dead are all of O'Malley's alternative plans to raise money for highways and transit. With the income tax and flush tax increases on their plates, lawmakers have had no appetite for plans to increase the gas or sales taxes.

Many bills have been passed by both houses but with differences in the details. Unless one chamber agrees to another's language, a conference committee is named. If those small groups of senators and delegates can't cut a deal in time, the bills die at midnight.

The Assembly already has passed significant legislation this session.

In March, the House by a narrow margin joined the Senate in approving same-sex marriage — a measure that will almost certainly be petitioned to a November referendum.

Later in the month, the two chambers agreed on legislation that will require counties to keep up a minimum level of spending on education — called maintenance of effort — or risk having their income tax revenues sent directly to their local school boards.

Over the weekend lawmakers gave final approval to a ban on arsenic in chicken feed — the first in the nation.

The Assembly also approved O'Malley's bill setting up health exchanges to prepare Maryland for an expansion of care under President Obama's Affordable Care Act – if the Supreme Court doesn't strike down the federal law.

michael.dresser@baltsun.com